Louder Whisper

Murali Cheeroth A Sound State and the State of Sound

Human body has been a battle field of ideologies ever since the ‘idea’ of survival became a possibility through the idea of subjection. Subjection is often done through the slow indoctrination of hegemonic ideas through the ideological apparatuses of the state. Human mind is targeted through the human body; pleasuring as well as torturing it. The ideological state apparatuses (ISAs) work relentlessly to make the subjects aware of the vulnerability of their bodies.

Doubly weakened by political and cultural discourses, female body is one of the entities that the perpetrators of subjection use in order to proliferate the rule of terror through unimaginable ways of control. Rapists, though they could be explained as psychological ill cases amongst human beings, embody not only in their personalities but also in their acts, the idea of the state over the female/weak body, rendering such bodies incapable of standing and voicing for themselves, their dignity and life.

However big the talks about freedom and individual existence are, in unified societies like ours today, human bodies are the properties of the state, which in turn could implement any kind of violence on it. Bodies are captured and kept alive as a pawn or a bet or a bait by the state. Even when the state allows the bodies to survive even in a degenerated state, it could be one way of flaunting the authority of it over the hapless subjects. It is a threat and a way to discipline; that reminds one of the public gallows of the middle ages.

My sonic piece is an intervention in the discourse of the state and the counter discourses generated by the agencies and individuals within their own capacities as thinking and acting centers. The blurred interfaces of these two zones are the areas of hope but often these zones are clouded by ambiguities and political under dealings. I would like to address these three zones where human body is subjected to various ideologies and positioning.

To create a sonic narrative, while retaining the abstract presence of sound as ‘sound’, I take the pitiful and scandalous incident of Aruna Shanbag rape as a point of departure. Aruna Shanbag, a twenty year old nurse was raped by a ward boy on 23rd November 1973. She was brutally attacked by the aggressor and ever since she has been living in a condition of coma, with the life supporting devices holding ‘life’ back to her body.

I grew up listening to the various narratives about this atrocious incident. Pinki Virani, an author and friend of Aruna had moved the Supreme Court of India demanding Euthanasia for Aruna. However, it was turned down by the Court.

My project moves around the story of Aruna Shanbag, primarily a victim of an aberrant male and later a victim of a larger state. I would like to weave the whole narrative and the related theoretical issues using sound as my medium and these sounds would at once construct a narrative about the incident meanwhile deconstructing it to the minute theoretical details.